An Open Letter To Kate Coe and The Editors of The L.A. Weekly
RE: "The Theresa Duncan Tragedy"
Dear Kate, et. al.,
Like many I've been following the tragic story of the double suicide of Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake since the news broke of her death, and then, just as tragically, his own just ten days later. One reads their story with deep regret for two people who were obviously extraordinarily talented - Blake through his breathtaking visual art and Duncan through her witty, acerbic and intuitive writing, especially on her blog, The Wit of The Staircase (http://theresalduncan.typepad.com/).
Admittedly, it's hard not to become a complete voyeur when news like this breaks. "How could two such incredibly gifted people who seemed to have it all cut short their lives like this?" is only one of the many questions one asks. Of course we search for clues and want answers, lets' face it, more for ourselves and our momentary entertainment then for them.
But after reading your article of 8/1/07 (http://www.laweekly.com/news/news/the-theresa-duncan-tragedy/16942/?page=1) I must ask you, Ms. Coe, at what point does public interest go over the edge into a very public character assassination after the fact?
I don't know that I believe in the concept of bad taste or moral high ground, but really, I wish you'd let the two have their peace and not follow up this article with even more personal details about their relationship and/or supposed mental health issues that the world does not need to know now that they are gone.
What did we learn from your article exactly? That like most highly creative people they were both sensitive, troubled and disappointed in their own unique ways; that she didn't always tell the autobiographical truth, but tended to mythologize herself (she lied about her age, my God!) that she could be difficult to work with, that he loved her deeply and may have entertained any delusions she might have held rather than shot them down point blank...
Yeah, and, so...?
What are all these sordid personal details adding to their tale, and what about their families who are having to endure their tragic deaths and, at the same time, have to read this unsubstantiated hearsay smeared across media web sites all over the world that link to you?
Let's call a spade a spade here: your article is sensationalism of the worst kind because it's dressed up in the worst pretension known as "cultural importance," not to mention the fact neither of them is around to defend themselves against many of the accusations from the people quoted in your article who seem to have their own motives for telling "the truth" about the two of them now that they're dead.
Ms. Coe, I can only hope somebody waits until you're at your most vulnerable to interview your rivals and enemies, quotes them vigorously on every flawed detail of who you are while they simultaneously go digging through your closet so the world can see what gets pulled out.
I just hope they do it while you're alive so you can suffer the indignity in real time, and not in the afterlife.
With All Best Wishes,